For a background to this post, read my first two posts on Wright’s interpretive framework from his book OT Ethics for the People of God: Wright’s OT Framework and Wright’s Paradigmatic Interpretation.
In Wright’s Paradigmatic Interpretation, he notes that there are intentional connections in the major themes of Creation and the OT Law. God’s relationship with Israel and the land show God’s effort to address sinful humans and a fallen creation. There are elements of redemption in the OT Law that address widespread sinfulness. The Eschatological Interpretation takes this one step further. The Law not only looks back as a way to redress sin, but it looks forward to the end of all things when God will ultimately make all things right. It anticipates the day when God will redeem completely and totally; sin and rebellion will be vanquished. Notice Wright’s explanation and diagram.
This approach rests on the conviction, solidly based in the Old as well as the New Testament, that God’s redemptive purpose, initiated through Israel and their land, will ultimately embrace all nations and the whole earth, in a transformed and perfect new creation. Returning to the diagram, if we can think in dynamic terms while using a static figure, this means that the redemptive triangle will ultimately ‘transcend’ (break through) the triangle of fallen creation (Wright, OT Ethics, p. 184).
When considering how things ought to be now, specifically as addressed in the Law of God, it is helpful to balance things against God’s intentions in the beginning with Creation and God’s ultimate purposes in the end. Sin led to a reversal of God’s original intentions for humanity. Instead of immediate realization of all God planned for man and woman, the Law was provided as a mechanism to reintroduce God’s will. This involved a process where God loved his people, called them and worked with them in relationship with society and the land. Israel’s stubbornness illustrates the fact that this was not a full and immediate realization of redemption.
Another interesting connection in Scripture is “the heavens and the earth.” In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). Sin represented the human response and rejection of God’s plans. In the end, though, there will be “the new heavens and the new earth” (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev. 21:1). Israel in the OT and Christians today are charged with remembering God’s original intention of creation while anticipating and trying to live into his ultimate purposes of the new heavens and the new earth. The struggle against sin and fallenness takes on a cosmic importance when considered in this light.
The next post of Wright’s Typological Framework can be found here.